There’s a lot of Dr Alice Roberts on the television these days. It must be the channels that I watch but she seems to pop up everywhere. Most of the programmes I have seen anyway. I don’t watch much television yet sit in front of it a lot.
Archaeology is not really my thing. The thought of kneeling in a field scraping away at the damp earth with a trowel hoping to find a bit of broken pot doesn’t fill me with excitement, but each to their own. I do get interested, however, in some of the major things they find and I guess you can’t have these without the hours of labour.
One such find is the Must Farm, described as ‘Britain’s Pompeii’ due to its relatively good condition, including the ‘best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found’. The site was abandoned due to a catastrophic fire and is filled with artefacts from the period, including cooking pots with the remains of food still in them.
The problem is that on the television the site looks like a jumble of logs. It is very hard to get the perspective you need through the small screen and make out the details that would be possible if you were there. Television just isn’t up to this particular job.
I had the same feeling when watching the rugby at the weekend. France had won a penalty and their player stepped up to take the kick. The camera panned out to show the uprights ahead yet the picture looked all wrong. The posts appeared too far away and the image was unnatural. A similar thing happens with the snooker where the image on screen never represents reality in that the cue never lines up with the shot that is required.
This got me thinking. I know that stereo television has died a death, in the main because of the glasses that you need to wear and, I guess, the additional cost of production but something surely could be done. In this age of whizz bang technology and digital production I would have thought it is possible to process the images to sort out perspective and perceptions. Granted, live television may be a problem as the processing required may need time but this should not be an issue with recorded and assembled programmes.
The lens has been around for hundreds of years and the problems of perspective have been known for almost as long. I’m certain we have the technology to sort this out, even if it is only so I can unravel that pile of logs.